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Daily News Headlines for March 19, 2014

Click here for Newswire, the latest weekly report on education news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else – spiced with a dash of irreverence – from the nation’s leading voice in school reform.

NATIONAL COVERAGE

Group Says Arkansas Not Making the Grade With Charter School Laws
KARK, March 18, 2014
An education group says Arkansas isn’t making the grade when it comes to charter school laws.

State Laws Need to Allow for More Charter School Growth, Report Says
US News & World Report, March 18, 2014
Most state laws don’t give the flexibility needed for charter schools to meet growing demand, report says.

STATE COVERAGE

ALABAMA

Democrats, AEA rally for teacher pay raise, full insurance funding
Montgomery Advertiser, March 19, 2014
Democrats and officials with the Alabama Education Association held a rally partly to urge approval of a pay raise and full insurance funding for teachers, and partly to condemn legislative Republicans for not including it in the Education Trust Fund budget.

COLORADO

Opinion: What Jeffco School Board is doing is shameful
Denver Post, March 18, 2014
School boards have traditionally been nonpartisan, but that no longer is the case in Jeffco. The result is a school board that appears more committed to carrying out a political agenda rather than one focused on what’s best for our students. In fact, recent actions by the board’s new majority have done nothing more than throw the district into chaos.

CONNECTICUT

State Allows More Time To Draft ‘Turnaround’ Plan For Hartford’s Clark School
Hartford Courant, March 18, 2014
After parent complaints, the state Department of Education has agreed to give more time to a committee that is crafting an improvement plan for Clark Elementary School, a candidate for the Commissioner’s Network program to fund struggling schools.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

D.C. Council member Catania proposes sweeping special-education legislation
Washington Post, March 18, 2014
D.C. Council member David A. Catania introduced a package of legislation Tuesday meant to overhaul special education services by speeding up their delivery to students and strengthening parents’ rights in disputes with schools.

On Race to the Top funds, D.C. stumbles
Washington Post, March 18, 2014
Of the 12 jurisdictions that won the earliest grants under the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program, the District of Columbia has come under extra scrutiny by federal officials concerned about its ability to manage the money.

FLORIDA

Just for Girls Club plans new charter school in Bradenton
Brandenton Herald, March 19, 2014
It’s all about girl power. But how to get young girls to realize how successful they can be is the most important part of empowering them. Just For Girls, a chapter of the Manatee County Girls Club Inc., may have a plan to achieve that goal.

Palmetto Bay approves 1,400-student charter school
Miami Herald, March 18, 2014
According to Palmetto Bay Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, the property’s zoning designation and laws governing charter schools all converged in “a perfect storm” to force the council’s hand to approve, with no guarantees that the school would adequately address the traffic and congestion issues sure to arise with an added influx of 1,400 students every work day.

School vouchers bill passes on party-line vote
Tampa Tribune, March 18, 2014
A proposal to expand the state’s private school voucher program cleared its latest panel on a party-line vote Tuesday after a standing-room only meeting packed with pastors, public school advocates and private school students.

GEORGIA

Raises for Atlanta public school employees get preliminary approval
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 18, 2014
Atlanta’s 7,000 public school employees would get 3 percent raises next year and furloughs would be eliminated under a budget given preliminary approval Tuesday.

LOUISIANA

Column: Prison reform, school choice and the changing faces of the advocates
The Times-Picayune, March 18, 2014
That’s what made Monday’s meetings remarkable. The group that came in to talk about the problems of incarceration was made up entirely of white men. And the two former politicians who came to lend their support to school choice are black Democrats — Ann Duplessis, the former state senator from New Orleans, and Kevin Chavous, who once sat on the city council in Washington.

New Orleans’ two school systems approve landmark agreement
Times-Picayune, March 18, 2014
The Orleans Parish School Board and Recovery School District approved a major cooperative agreement Tuesday that supporters hailed as the start of sewing together the seams of a city snipped into 90 pieces after Hurricane Katrina, when the state took over and chartered almost all the schools.

MAINE

Maine Senate fails to override LePage on virtual school bill
Portland Press Herald, March 18, 2014
The Maine Senate fell short by one vote Tuesday in overriding Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would have created a moratorium on virtual charter schools while the state developed a plan to create a state-run virtual school.

MARYLAND

Govans Elementary may become a charter school
The Baltimore Sun, March 18, 2014
Govans Elementary, which was facing state takeover as a failing school when Principal Linda Taylor arrived for the 2006-07 school year, is failing no more. A combined 85.4 percent of third, fourth and fifth graders scored in the proficient or advanced range on state-mandated reading assessment tests in 2013, up more than 3 percent from 2012.

MASSACHUSETTS

Editorial: Time to lift the charter school cap
The Salem News, March 19, 2014
Tens of thousands of kids are on waiting lists for charter schools in Massachusetts. The lists are long for a simple reason. Parents desperately want to give their children a chance at a better education and a better life, and they see charters as the way out of substandard public schools and a life of dependency.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Column: Legislators are being deceived on charter school funding
New Hampshire Union Leader, March 19, 2014
A normalization of charter school funding, although long overdue, has become a political football. It is the subject of misinformed and purposely misleading arguments to try to kill it. The truth, easily discovered, is that the funding proposal covers fewer than 2 percent of students, involves less than 2 percent of state education funding and continues to ask charter schools to prosper with less than half the funding traditional schools receive.

NEW MEXICO

Santa Fe school board OKs program to reach dropouts
Albuquerque Journal, March 19, 2014
The Engage Santa Fe program designed to recapture students who have dropped out of school and put them back on track to receive a standard diploma will move forward, despite assertions by one school board member and the local teachers union president that it represents the first privatization of schools in New Mexico.

NEW YORK

King Center Charter School accused of ‘abandoning’ neighborhood
Buffalo News, March 18, 2014
A proposal to relocate the King Center Charter School is raising concerns among some community leaders who say the move would essentially abandon one of the city’s historic buildings and hurt the neighborhood in which it has become an anchor.

Public school parents say de Blasio did too much for charters
New York Post, March 18, 2014
A day after getting slapped with a federal lawsuit from charter school parents for canceling classroom space for their kids, Mayor Bill de Blasio got hit from the other side — public school parents claiming he did too much for charters.

OHIO

Opinion: Deregulation is the last thing Ohio’s schools need
Logan Daily News, March 19, 2014
Last week, Governor John Kasich said in a speech to the Ohio Newspaper Association in Columbus that he wants to bring deregulation to Ohio’s public schools.

Elida approves development of online learning academy
Lima News, March 18, 2014
During the Elida school board meeting Tuesday, a resolution was passed to approve the development of a new Web-based school within the district, aimed at curbing the exodus of students either dropping out of high school or moving to online alternatives, such as Ohio Virtual Academy or the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

Nexus Academy partners with Youth Opportunities Unlimited to provide student internships
Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 18, 2014
Nexus Academy, a “blended” school that mixes online work with student-teacher interaction, has teamed up with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) to help the students explore career paths and gain hands-on work experience.

Powell legislator stirs controversy over views on public schools
Columbus Dispatch, March 19, 2014
Two weeks after calling public education “socialism” and saying it should be privatized, state Rep. Andrew Brenner said of those criticizing him with vulgarities: “I’m guessing those people had a public education.”

OKLAHOMA

Editorial: Repeal of Common Core would increase federal control
The Oklahoman, March 19, 2014
OPPONENTS of Common Core often claim that its academic standards represent a federal takeover of schools. No real evidence exists to support that claim. Instead, the initiative most likely to increase federal control of Oklahoma schools is actually the move to repeal state Common Core math and language arts standards.

PENNSYLVANIA

Opinion: Support for all good schools
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 19, 2014
The great 19th-century reformer Horace Mann warned Americans that we all must be responsible for educating each other’s children. He was right. Each child deserves the chance at a successful and rewarding life. That starts with a good education.

Opinion: The financial crisis in our schools is an epic political fail
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mach 19, 2014
DISAGREEMENT or disinterest among the elected officials who represent Philadelphia is once again putting the city’s public-education system at risk. While some in the political establishment want to believe that the district’s solvency problem is the district’s fault, the real culprit here is the failure of political leaders to line up behind a certain and sustainable revenue plan to support the schools.

Pocono Mountain Charter School returns to court
Pocono Record, March 19, 2014
The latest development in the Pocono Mountain Charter School case may be stalled again, after a move that has “outraged” the Pocono Mountain School District, according to a statement. The charter school has applied for a re-argument with an appellate court, maintaining that the court should recognize the validity of an original state board’s vote in its favor in 2011.

TENNESSEE

No Plan B: Angst over Common Core puts Tennessee at crossroads in classroom
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Match 19, 2014
As Gov. Bill Haslam traveled across the state Tuesday trying to preserve the suddenly endangered Common Core State Standards as Tennessee’s educational program of choice, a House-passed bill that would delay Common Core for two years appeared to be headed for trouble in the Senate.

VIRGINIA

Editorial: Charter course
Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 19, 2014
The Richmond School Board deserves a round of applause for its initial openness toward a proposed new charter school. The board recently voted unanimously to accept an application for the school despite its arrival after deadline. That could represent a promising shift in tone for the board, which seemed indifferent if not hostile toward the city’s first charter school, the Patrick Henry School for Science and the Arts.

Norfolk schools chief to reveal improvement plan
The Virginian Pilot, March 19, 2014
Superintendent Samuel King will unveil a revised plan to improve Norfolk Public Schools now that charter schools are off the table.

Rapides board to hear charter school application
Alexandria Town Talk, March 18, 2014
A public charter school could be in Alexandria’s future, as the Rapides Parish School Board will hear a request from Charter Schools USA to open Alexandria Charter Academy at a special meeting Tuesday.

WISCONSIN

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful would cut school vouchers
Leader-Telegram, March 19, 2014
Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said Tuesday the state should not have expanded the private school voucher program statewide or created a new private school tax deduction.

It’s crunch time for voucher school oversight bills
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 18, 2014
Legislation that would bring a level of performance oversight to private voucher schools for the first time is in the bottom of the ninth inning of the legislative session in Madison — with two outs.

WYOMING

Education accountability still on track despite failed bills
Trib.com, March 19, 2014
A new accountability system to grade Wyoming schools, teachers and principals is still on track despite two failed bills on the topic this legislative session, state education officials said Tuesday.

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